The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) recently entrusted Créditinfo VoLo, a joint-venture established in Senegal and Gambia and set up by Créditinfo Group and VoLo Africa, with the establishing of the first credit bureaus (“BIC”) in the member States of the West African Monetary Union (UEMOA), i.e. Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. The first BICs should be operational in June 2015.

According to the Regional Bill on the regulation of BIC in the member States of the UEMOA dated 3rd June 2013, “A BIC is an institution that collects data about the credit or payment history of a client, which it sources from financial entities, public sources and public utilities (such as water supply or electricity supply companies, telephone companies, etc.). This information is then processed and sold to credit institutions, microfinance institutions (MFI) and public utilities in the form of detailed credit reports”.

The “Doing Business” report is published annually by the World Bank Group. The 2013 report ranks the member States of the UEMOA amongst the least performing in terms of the obtaining of credit.

Faced with such a situation, the BCEAO decided to sign a cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation in September 2013 to promote BICs in UEMOA member States.

In giving financial institutions easier access to information about a borrower’s creditworthiness, the BCEAO hopes to give an impulse to the granting of lending to economic agents.

The BCEAO would like to increase the loans granted in the UEMOA zone, in giving financial institutions easier access to information about the borrowers’ creditworthiness. This would as a whole lead each of the relevant member States to get a better score in the “Doing Business” report.